Newark Has Lead In The Water, And Residents Say The City Lied To Them (HBO)

When Newark announced it was handing out 40,000 filters to residents believed to be at risk of high lead levels in their water, it came as a surprise to some. This was in October, and for more than a year, the city of 285,000 people had said Newark’s water was “absolutely safe to drink,” while robocalls to residents assured them their water was not contaminated.

The city’s messages did include an important caveat: that “the only high lead readings were taken inside older one- and two-family homes that have lead pipes leading from the city’s pure water into those homes.” But the clarifications usually came after messaging touting the water’s safety. For many residents, some of whom didn’t know what a lead service line was and whether their homes and buildings had one or not, the caveat wasn’t the message that stuck.

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One Doctor’s Desperate Attempt To Save Yemen’s Starving Children (HBO)

At least 85,000 children under the age of five may have died as a consequence of extreme hunger or disease since the Saudi-led coalition began its offensive in Yemen. VICE News spends the day with one doctor in one of the country’s poorest districts, where at least one in six children is severely malnourished.

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California After The Deadly Wildfire | VICE on HBO

California is experiencing its worst wildfire season in a decade, and November’s Camp Fire was the deadliest, most destructive fire in the state’s recorded history. While climate change is partially to blame, and its effects becoming more severe according to a new government report, there might be another culprit at play. Gianna Toboni travels to the scorched town of Paradise to learn how California can survive a future of deadlier fires.

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How Theresa May Survived The Threat Of Political Extinction (HBO)

British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a mutiny by members of her own Conservative party Wednesday — but the result brings her government no closer to fixing the turmoil over Brexit.

May comfortably won the no-confidence vote in her leadership triggered by Brexit hardliners, with 200 Conservative MPs voting in her support and 117 against.

But with more than one-third of her MPs voting against her, it underscored the significant opposition to her draft EU withdrawal deal within her party — and highlighted the battle she still faces to get the agreement approved by Parliament ahead of a fast approaching deadline.

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China’s “Social Credit System” Can Create More Than Just Public Shaming (HBO)

China is testing a new plan to urge its citizens to do more good and be more trustworthy – the Social Credit System. It’s kind of like the American credit score, except it tracks far more than financial transactions. It tracks good — and bad — deeds.

Part of the system is a neighbor watch program that’s being piloted across the country where designated watchers are paid to record people’s behaviors that factor into their social credit score. A high score could bring you lower interest loans and discounted rent and utility bills, but if your score is low, you can be subjected to public shaming or even banned from certain kinds of travel, life gets hard.

China’s economy has exploded over the past decades, economic reforms required banks to be able to evaluate individuals looking to borrow money to buy houses or start new businesses. Fraud and excess borrowing were rampant because most people didn’t really have much of a credit history. To measure its citizens’ trustworthiness, in 2014, The State Council laid out a plan that aims to build a centralized database to evaluate individuals and organizations based on their financial and social behaviors.

The program is scheduled to be nationwide by 2020, which means every Chinese citizen will be tracked, scored, and receive perks and restrictions accordingly.

VICE News went to a village in one of the first pilot cities to see how the local office funnels the behaviors of 3,000 residents in this neighborhood into social credit scores.

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Wrongfully Convicted People Have No Idea They’re Owed Thousands back In Taxes (HBO)

Jon Eldan, a lawyer who runs a one-man nonprofit named After Innocence, spends his days making hundreds of phone calls to men and women who were wrongfully incarcerated, then exonerated and released from prison. Every now and then, if he’s lucky, he finds who he’s looking for — and if they’re lucky, he tells them the government owes them back taxes, sometimes to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

For years, some exonerees who were compensated for their time in prison had to pay federal income taxes on that money. That changed in 2015 with the Wrongful Conviction Tax Relief Act. Congress made the law retroactive, meaning exonerees could apply for refunds — but it didn’t come up with a way to let people know they were entitled to the money.

So Eldan took it upon himself to survey as many publicly known exonerees as possible to find those the government failed to alert.

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AP Breakthrough Entertainers 2018: Natasha Rothwell

(12 Dec 2018) Natasha Rothwell claims she is shy in real life, but her scene-stealing supporting roles in HBO’s “Insecure” and the film “Love, Simon” have proven otherwise. (Dec. 12)

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How The Yellow Vest Protests Forced Macron To Back Down (HBO)

After a fourth weekend of violent protest, French president Emmanuel Macron has desperately tried to appease those who say his policies are making them poorer.

In a televised address designed to take the heat out of the largest mass protest to hit France since the student uprising of 1968, Macron said the minimum wage would be raised and taxes on pensioners cut.

The Gilets Jaunes movement, named after the yellow high visibility vests worn by its members, staged demonstrations in most major cities in France over the weekend. More than 1,700 people were arrested. One of the demonstrations took place in the industrial city of Le Mans, southwest of Paris. At its peak, the Le Mans protest involved 300 people.

VICE News spoke to Peter Pilon, a factory worker manning a barricade made from tires and wooden shipping pallets, built to prevent a company that distributes gasoline and diesel from operating.

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This Is India’s Fairness Obsession | VICE on HBO (Bonus)

India’s skin lightening industry is estimated to be worth nearly half a billion dollars. Around 60% of women and 10% of men say they use fairness products. Gianna Toboni reports.

Watch the full episode now on HBO.

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#VICEonHBO

The Apocalypse Escape Plan Of The One Percent | VICE on HBO (Bonus)

Doomsday prep is bigger than ever, and it’s all thanks to the one percent. Thomas Morton reports.

Don’t miss #VICEonHBO tonight at 7:30PM and 11PM EDT on @HBO.

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